UTC Derby students learn about Young Carers Action Day
On 16th March 2021, UTC Derby students learnt about Young Carers Action Day. The day has changed its name from “Awareness” day. This year, COVID-19 has impacted hugely on many young carers lives even more than usual.
A young carer is someone under 18 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled, has a mental health condition or misuses drugs or alcohol. There are an estimated 800,000 young carers in the UK providing essential care for their families.
Examples of tasks carried out by young carers are:
- Practical tasks, like cooking, housework and shopping.
- Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed.
- Emotional support, including talking to someone who is distressed.
- Personal care, such as helping someone dress.
- Managing the family budget and collecting prescriptions.
- Helping to give medicine.
- Helping someone communicate.
- Looking after brothers and sisters.
The restrictions of lockdown and the anxiety related to the risks associated with COVID-19 have been central to young carers’ difficulties, increasing their caring load, preventing them from getting a break or from turning to their established coping strategies such as spending time with friends, going to school, or engaging in a hobby. The loss of established routine has also had an impact on the physical and mental health of those that they are caring for, which in turn has increased the caring burden on young carers.
Despite these very difficult circumstances, many young carers have felt unable to complain, as this would be “selfish” and insensitive to the person they were caring for. One young carer, 12-year-old Izzy, has said: “People don’t realise the entirety of my life is me being a mini adult, but it’s not a pick and choose the time sort of thing.”
The lack of support from friends and wider family has had major repercussions on young carers. On top of their caring duties, they have struggled to manage the requirements of home learning and have described the barriers such as having to care for younger siblings or not having a quiet space to be able to study.
Through action days, like the one planned in March, people will become more aware of young carers in the UK. Any fundraising will help a young carer to try and retain some of their “childhood”.
Carers Trust who co-ordinate the Action Day, helps young carers to cope with their caring role through specialised services delivered by Carers Trust Network Partners across the UK. They are independent charities. The activities offered include:
- Activities and breaks.
- Peer and community support, including young carer groups and peer mentoring schemes.
- Information, advice and guidance, including one-to-one support
- Emotional support.
- Support planning including emergency support.
- Training in subjects such as health and safety, wellbeing and life skills.
- Supporting families and young carers to apply for appropriate benefits.
- Whole family support.
If you need to speak to someone in college, please contact the Student Support team who are available to help and provide support all students through all circumstances.
Local help in Derby is The Derby Carers Association who can be contacted on phone or via email: 01773 833833 firstname.lastname@example.org